Murder at Mansfield Park

Written by Lynn Shepherd

The well-known classic Mansfield Park has been transformed into a whodunit murder mystery. Murder at Mansfield Park is a page-turner with twists and turns that keep its reader gripped until the very last page. The feeble and timid Fanny Price we met in Mansfield Park has become a feisty and ambitious lady. Heiress to a large fortune, Fanny is now an untrustworthy, scheming gold-digger. She is betrothed to Edmund, but do they really love each other?

Tragedy strikes at the house, and it becomes a crime scene. A body is discovered early one morning. Who is it that has met with a violent death? What is the motive and who is the murderer? Everyone is suspected of the crime, and Lynn Shepherd does a superb job of keeping the reader guessing with the twists in the plot in the race to find the murderer, and producing an unexpected heroine along the way.

Two of the central episodes in Mansfield Park, the theatricals and the visit to Sotherton, are included in the rework, developing the characters and keeping the plot moving. The result is much lighter, more entertaining, and more amusing than the original. However, it still remains a respectful homage to Austen, and the novel will appeal both to Austen fans and to crime readers.

Its language is authentic, with quotations and snippets that will warm the hearts of true Austen readers, and includes enough dead bodies, motives, murderers, and detectives to keep crime readers riveted, complete with the inclusion of a 19th-century equivalent of a post-mortem.

A well written and very readable first novel that certainly deserves to be devoured.